Eva Mendes photographed by Steven Meisel

Steven Meisel photographed Eva Mendes for the May 2008 Italian Vogue (Stylist: Andrew Richardson, Makeup: Pat McGrath, Hair: Guido, Set Design: Mary Howard).
This editorial has utterly inspired me.

Confession: I have never seen an Eva Mendes film before. I was disappointed to hear that Calvin Klein chose Eva to be the face of its new fragrance & Underwear line. Just another celebrity stealing a job from a model. However this story shows what a great model Eva is.

Observe how Eva tells a story with her body language – relaxed left hand, right toe extended, left toe in her mouth, eyes focused directly at the camera, eyebrows arched. She is frankly aware of her carnal power, and not at all afraid of the male gaze. Mary Howard‘s set completes the story: this is a woman who has en extensive library – she is sexual and literary. The varied height of the books suggest a women who gets a lot of pleasure from art and from literature. The sunlight reflected from her spotless glass table & vase reveal that she wears her lingerie in the day time – is she wearing it for herself, or for a lover? The artificial flowers in the vase reveal that although she is a woman of leisure, gardening is not one of her passions. Andrew Richardson‘s chiffon knickers give a dowdy, high waisted silhouette, but their sheerness reveal her light panties and latent naughtiness. The blue satin high heeled open toed mules deliberately reveal that her coral manicure matches her coral pedicure. Clearly she is into shrimping.

Eva is taking advantage of the props at her disposal. Her right hand gracefully holds her cigarette. She is aware of the dangers of smoking but doesn’t care. Sheer Fendi kimono open, breasts exposed, arms & legs wide open, in a spread eagled position on a wooden bench inside of a lawn chair frame. Her body is where the fabric covering would be. This position seems to invite the viewer, who has become a voyeur, to sit on her. However, her confrontational expression & defiance betray her prone body language – there is no doubt that Eva is in control. Guido‘s wig reminds me of the volume of this girl sitting on her bed with her shirt off with the sheen , darkness and control of this young Brooklyn family going on a Sunday outing. Again, the daylight reminds you that she is not a creature of the night, she pursues her succor in the daytime.

Here Eva reminds me of one of my favorite models, Shana. Steven Meisel photographed Shana for three consecutive Italian Vogue covers, several Italian Vogue editorials and the Alberta Ferretti campaign. Shana reminded me of the actress Raquel Welch. All three women are excellent models who were comfortable performing for the camera. Like Eva, Shana modeled for a Calvin Klein fragrance campaign, Escape. Chris Von Wangenheim photographed Raquel Welch for the cover of Playboy.

This shot on the right is my favorite of the entire series. Ths shadows dancing across Eva’s torso are gorgeous. The sunlight caresses her left eyelid & cheekbone. the joy Eva feels for finally connecting with her someone to touch is palpable. The stockinged feet caressing her breasts may or may not be her lover. Either way, it is obvious that she loves being touched.

The nudity in the story shocked me. Steven Meisel rarely photographs nudes. His most famous series of nudes was Madonna‘s Sex book. the book was styled by Paul Cavaco, who was assisted by Andrew Richardson at the time. Besides styling, Andrew is also the editor-in-chief of Richardson Magazine. Fabien Baron shot the Sex sessions on video, including super 8 mm. Baron used the footage for the video for the song “Erotica“, which he directed. Fabien Baron photographed Toni Garrn for the spring 2008 Calvin Klein Collection campaign.

This story rocked my world. The first thing I did before work was head to the store to buy Pat McGrath‘s Cover Girl Line Exact liquid Eyeliner. In this video Pat teaches how to apply the Cover Girl Line Exact liquid Eyeliner she used at the fall ’07 Louis Vuitton show. That is the purpose of great fashion photography – to entertain, to provoke, and to inspire the customer to buy something : an eyeliner, a shoe, a bra, a pair of stockings, or a fragrance.